Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe.
-- Carl Sagan, 1980 –

Have a great Tuesday!


Maalie said...

Dear Cipriano, I have found my way here from the blog of another, and I have enjoyed what I have read so far.

I wonder if I may take the liberty of harking back to a previous post on your other blog, in particular your post about Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion. I am a professional biologist and have designated some of his books as "required reading" to my own students over the years. In my opinion he is a brilliant communicator and can explain such phenomena as Natural Selection with enviable clarity.

It was a point made my one of your commentators that caught my eye, namely:

>They are too certain themselves...they need to recognize that even (and maybe especially) science is only aware of the tip of the iceberg at this point.

I think this reflects a common confusion between "science" and "scientists". There are, and have been, of course corrupt scientists who usurp their discipline, as in any other walk of life.

Science does not purport to have an answer to anything. It seeks only to offer the most plausible explanation (hypothesis) of a situation based on the evidence to hand. As the evidence improves by observation, experiment or discovery, a hypothesis may be modified, or even rejected and replaced. For centuries science embraced the notion of a creative God until it was no longer the most parsimonious explanation of the evidence. My own "coming out" to atheism happened in but a moment, when I read Dawkins' words (in his Blind Watchmaker"): "We now no longer need to invoke the supernatural to explain the origins and development of life on earth". I recognised immediately that these were the words I had been seeking for decades.

Note that these words do not rule out the possibility of an Almighty Everlasting Heavenly Father, but merely assert that we know enough about the natural world to say that things could have happened without one.

Even Dawkins himself does not absolutely reject totally the possibility of a God: he points out that a truly omnipotent God could do anything he wanted to - even create spurious evidence to throw us off the scent. Dawkins reduces it to statistical terms: the probability that the world exists the way we perceive it because of the hand of a divine creator is so small as to be out of the frame for consideration.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I never bake from scratch...too complicated!

Merisi said...

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe.

All of a sudden, rhubarb strudel sounds like such a simple solution to the God conundrum.

My favorite quote on Richard Dawkins (in a LRB review), -"Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology" -, makes me wonder if "knowledge" nowadays still means apprehending truth or fact through reasoning.